morning tender as rain slowly approaches
sun veiled in dove gray
clouds, soft pearls
breezes gentle for December
feel the morning’s in-taken breath
anticipate approaching, cleansing storm
rain that will melt fallen leaves
already piled in gutters
mounding by concrete walks
swirling, descending from tree limbs
dressed now in burnt umber, fire orange
clumps of mistletoe stranglers
suddenly exposed on branches newly bare
even in paradise, Northern California’s trees die
from thirst, from hosting bloodsuckers like mistletoe
from insects, from cruel humans’ greedy saws
I dream of a re-seeded continent, continents
Great Plains waving, Redwoods full and rich
mighty Amazon forests healed
balance restored between Earth and humanity
night glows orange
All Hallows approaches
air finally cools
edges with frost
an ice football
tail lights streak—
Saturday night dates
workers head home
families itch to escape—
long winter ahead
gardens turned and banked
will love survive the cold, come spring?
MIDDLE-AGED REENTRY STUDENT BLUES
Today I spoke with my counselor;
she suggested that I drop my minor in dance.
Perhaps it would make it easier to graduate on time—
she must not have known what it means to me.
She suggested that I drop my dance minor;
perhaps she thinks I’m just boogiein’;
She must not have known what it means to me,
the grace, loveliness, and glamour.
Perhaps she thinks I’m just boogiein’,
not serious about my college years;
the grace, loveliness, and glamour
won’t pay the rent down the line.
Not serious about my college years?
I’m serious as a heart attack.
Dance won’t pay the rent down the line,
nor will that minimum wage job, at age fifty-nine.
I’m serious as a heart attack about my future,
but this is my last real chance to dance;
I won’t work that minimum-wage job at fifty-nine—
I’ll be responsible, finish school, become a teacher.
But this is my last real chance to dance.
So why don’t I drop the dance minor?
As I finish school, be responsible, become a teacher,
I will also dance—for it means the world to me.
so full that the cheap, plastic flange
holding the rod broke
spilling blouse after blouse
pants, belts, dresses
into a huddle
on the darkened closet’s floor
soon, I will lose this gut, upper arm flab
soon all this will fit, I kept saying—yet
having no patience with starving myself
needing energy, nourishment
appreciating food’s comfort, strengthening power
all this still doesn’t fit
over the years, all this
has, in fact, compounded
until one can barely enter the closet
much less wear it all
even if it did fit
today, fiery purpose prevailing
grab handfuls of hangers
garments of all kinds
make myself try them on
before the mirror
three, then four black garbage bags worth
someone else will wear these treasures
someone whom they actually fit
my closet breathes again
the next step, embracing my body
still too fat for all those clothes
In my young waking
I met you,
standing at the edge
of your concrete driveway,
all the tall houses
grouped side by side.
With a flash,
the rake you held
bit the edge of my face
by my eye,
or boy’s caress,
I never returned.
crown both heads;
one boy meets my eyes,
his blue gaze sober, warm, proud,
his gait quick,
close to younger brother,
whose eyes are down,
face hidden by squirms.
my love for you glows
filling this small room
late-afternoon sunlight dapples
warms the walls
transforms worn, tan carpet
into paradisiacal sand
sifting on September’s beach
sunshine flickers through branches
of tall shrubs, just outside
as breeze shifts,
making the light dapple and change
a different slant each moment—
like your face, new each day
yet constant as the sunshine
in its warmth
(for David, at the loss of his father)
walking down the beach where I scattered his ashes
the sea pulls the sand
fills rock cubbies and pools, rushes back out
taking sand, ashes, and all
I walk on
sun bright, rude gulls swoop low over my head
I am here, but he is gone
a gap, or nothing
where he was
now swept out to ocean’s depths
I am here now
tomorrow I will be gone
A COMIC LOVE POEM
You’re not my cat,
you’re my landlady’s cat,
and she’s not here,
gone again for a few days.
Yes, she’ll be right back, really—
don’t keep crying!
you sound like a mountain lion,
a giant, fantasy Siamese
crying, crying, scratching
at my door.
I know she lets you sleep
but I won’t.
All right, all right,
I’m coming out,
let’s talk it over.
It’s 3:00 a.m.,
go to sleep,
She’ll be back,
—Medusa, with many thanks to Ann Wehrman for today’s fine poetry! Tonight, tune in to Dr. Andy’s Poetry & Technology Hour (KDVS 90.3FM) for a conversation with poet Chris Erickson from 5-5:30pm, then with Barbara West from 5:30-6pm. Chris will read at Poetry in Davis tomorrow (Thurs., 1/4) at the John Natsoulas Gallery, 8pm.
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